Documents seized from Osama's Pak hideout call 26/11 attacks 'heroic', Pune blast 'beautiful'
A top al Qaeda leader crowed about the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes as a "heroic" suicide attack and called the German Bakery blast in Pune a "beautiful huge bombing" in one of the documents seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan's Abbottabad.
The United States on Wednesday released documents it said were recovered during the 2011 raid on the compound when Navy SEALs killed bin Laden. Other documents from this lot contained references to India as a top al Qaeda target along with the US and Israel.
Abu-Salih al Somali, the Qaeda leader, boasted about the attacks in India in a document titled 'Terror Franchise, The Unstoppable Assassin, Techs (sic) Vital role for its success'.
Recounting attacks around the world at the time, he wrote of "the heroic Fidai (fidayeen or suicide) operations in Bombay… in which several western targets were struck in which many Americans and other westerners were killed".
"Following that," he went on, "was the beautiful huge bombing - also in India - of the western German Bakery mainly visited by Jews and western nationals in general".
The Mumbai attacks of November 2008 in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed were carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. And the home-grown Indian Mujahideen was blamed for the February 2010 bombing of the German Bakery in which 17 people died.
Neither attack was linked to al Qaeda - though David Coleman Headley, the American-Pakistani who scouted the Mumbai targets for Lashkar, did go on to work with al Qaeda.
Abu-Salih al Somali is understood to be a Somali named Abdirizaq Abdi Saleh, who has been described as heading al Qaeda's external relations in Pakistan-Afghanistan. He also goes by another name, Abu Hafez (Hafiz), and is also said to have been chief of the outfit's external special operations unit.
India comes up in another document released by the US - which is also undated and, this time, unsigned - in reference to Pakistan's erstwhile president Pervez Musharraf, who is accused of "seeking to achieve America's, Israel's and India's goal to annihilate Pakistan, by allowing American, Israeli and Indian intelligence to interrogate scientists of Pakistan's nuclear project and jail them like criminals".
The reference here is to a Pakistani nuclear scientist who is alleged to have met bin Laden, and who was later made available for questioning to US investigators.
"It is a campaign that will only benefit Americans, Jews and Indians," rails the unidentified author, who issued that tract in response to a state of the union address by then US president George W Bush.